Every young mother at Casa Mantay represents a one-of-a-kind opportunity to restore a unique human life. This is not a factory for recovery. It’s a highly personalized approach to rebuilding young women.
This is reflected in the emerging character that each girl demonstrates. Through their time at Casa Mantay, personalities once stifled begin to develop and flourish. Whether it be singing along to their favorite Korean pop songs, watching cartoons, or playing volleyball, the grounds of the Mantay house are seldom quiet. As Raquel, director of Casa Mantay, always says, “What would you expect? They’re teenagers after all!”
Yes, the mothers and their children are tasked with overcoming some very serious realities, but life in the Mantay house brings them together to support one another and share in each others’ joys as well as burdens. Amused by the character of their children and bonding in family-like harmony with the staff, there is color, music, laughter, and warmth often throughout the house.
"NEW TO MANTAY"
Jhovanna is 18 years old and will be leaving Mantay with her 2-year-old son, Alexis, in January. She’s an intelligent, leader-type and often the first to greet any newcomers to Casa Mantay. She is kind of like everyone's big sister. Jhovanna excels in the kitchen, where her leadership skills come to life. She is thrilled to be doing an internship at one of the best restraunts in the area. Jhovanna speaks eloquently about her plans and dreams and tells us that she dreams of having her own restaurant someday, but for now she would just like to continue her work in the restaurant she is cooking at and to save enough money to send her son to kindergarten.
Emeley is 13 years old and arrived to Casa Mantay last summer. She’s new, so she is still getting used to the rhythm of the house. She doesn’t want to be pregnant and doesn’t want to have children, and is struggling with the amount of work she is expected to do at Casa Mantay. At Mantay, every mother is expected to help take care of the house and cook. Raquel tells us that it is important for the girls to learn a sense of reality about what they will need to do in the future as young, single working mothers. She encourages the girls to not only experience joy at Casa Mantay but also to work hard and leave as independent, capable women.
Maritza is 17 years old and lives at Mantay with her 1-year-old daughter, April. Maritza is social, and eager to connect while chatting about music and bands. She’s shy at first but can become a bit goofy when she gets comfortable. In talking to Maritza you see she is a bit of a rebel. She has ambitious plans for her life, and she isn’t going to let anyone talk her out of them. Maritza is studying English and chose to name her daughter an English name. She hopes to work in the hospitality industry so that she can meet many travelers. Her English, if she continues to improve, will allow her to work in a cosmopolitan hotel in central Cusco where she can save up money to someday buy a house and send her daughter to school.
Raquel, Director of Casa Mantay, with Emeley and one recent graduate